Configure Content Security Policy Header in WordPress: Comprehensive Guide

Ensuring the security of your WordPress site is an ongoing battle. While firewalls and strong passwords are crucial, there’s another powerful tool at your disposal, i.e. the Content Security Policy (CSP) header.

This header lets you define which resources can load on your site. With it, you can protect WordPress sites from XSS attacks and other threats. 

In this guide, I’ll show how the professional WordPress development services configure the CSP header, both manually and using plugins. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to implement CSP headers effectively to secure your WordPress site.

Let’s dive in and secure your website from potential attacks.

What is the CSP HTTP Header in WordPress?

The Content Security Policy (CSP) HTTP header is a security feature that acts like a shield for your website. It helps to prevent a variety of attacks, such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection attacks. CSP also helps prevent unauthorized content from being loaded on your site.

It instructs web browsers on what resources, like scripts, images, and fonts, are allowed to load from your site and from what location. By creating an approved list of sources, the CSP header significantly reduces the risk of malicious code execution.

Think of it like this: with CSP, you’re essentially telling the browser, “Trust these sources and only these sources to provide content for my website”. That helps mitigate various security threats, especially Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks. Hackers inject malicious scripts into your website that can steal user data or redirect visitors to harmful sites.

Here’s a breakdown of how CSP works:

  • Directives: The CSP header consists of directives that specify what resources are allowed and from where.
  • Source whitelist: You define trusted sources, such as your own domain or specific content delivery networks (CDNs), for loading scripts, images, and other website elements.
  • Browser enforcement: When a user visits your website, their browser enforces the CSP policy. If the browser encounters a resource attempting to load from a non-approved source, it will be blocked, preventing potential security breaches.

There are WordPress plugins that can simplify the CSP configuration process. These plugins provide a user-friendly interface to implement and configure CSP headers to enhance your site’s security.

Why Add Security Headers to WordPress?

Adding security headers to your WordPress site is crucial for enhancing its security posture. Security headers are HTTP responses that provide an additional layer of security against various types of attacks. Here are some reasons why you should add security headers to your WordPress site:

  • Protection Against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks: Security headers such as CSP can help mitigate the risk of XSS attacks. It can be done by defining which resources can be loaded and executed on your site.
  • Mitigation of Clickjacking Attacks: Headers like X-Frame-Options can prevent your site from being embedded in an iframe on an attacker’s site. That reduces the risk of clickjacking attacks.
  • Prevention of MIME Sniffing: The X-Content-Type-Options header can prevent browsers from MIME sniffing. It can reduce the risk of certain types of attacks.
  • Early Warning System: Security headers act as a primary measure. They constantly monitor incoming traffic and enforce security policies before threats can even reach your website’s core.
  • Reduced Server Load: By blocking malicious requests at the header level, security headers can help reduce the load on your server. This frees up resources for legitimate traffic and improves website performance.
  • Better SEO and User Trust: Implementing security headers can also have SEO benefits. Search engines like Google consider security practices as part of their ranking algorithm. Additionally, users are more likely to trust a site that implements strong security measures.
  • Minimal Effort: Adding security headers to WordPress can be relatively simple. There are plugins available that can help you configure them without needing much technical knowledge.

Security headers are a crucial addition to any WordPress website. So consult with our WordPress developers to implement header security with ease. That will help you ensure your site stays secure against a variety of attacks and vulnerabilities.

Want to safeguard your WordPress website?

How to Configure the CSP Header in WordPress?

When it comes to configuring the CSP header in WordPress, there are two ways to go about it. You can either configure it manually or use an HTTP security header plugin. It depends on your expertise.

Method 1: Manual Configuration

The manual method involves directly adding code to your theme’s functions.php file to configure the CSP header. This approach provides more control over your CSP policy but requires some expertise.

Step 1: Open functions.php

Locate and open your theme’s functions.php file, where you will add the code to configure the CSP header. For that:

  • Access your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Navigate to Appearance > Theme Editor.
  • Select your theme’s functions.php file from the list on the right.

Here, we have opened the functions.php file and configured the CSP header.

Step 2: Add CSP Header Code

Add the necessary PHP code to define and apply the CSP header, specifying which resources are allowed to be loaded.

Copy and paste the following code into the functions.php file:

function add_csp_header() {
$csp = "default-src 'self'; "; // Default policy, allowing content from the same origin
$csp .= "script-src 'self'; "; // Allow scripts from self and a trusted domain
$csp .= "style-src 'self'; "; // Allow styles from self and a trusted domain
$csp .= "img-src 'self' data:; "; // Allow images from self and inline data
$csp .= "font-src 'self'; "; // Allow fonts from self and a trusted domain
$csp .= "connect-src 'self'; "; // Allow connections to self
$csp .= "frame-src 'none';"; // Disallow embedding in iframes
header("Content-Security-Policy: $csp");
add_action('send_headers', 'add_csp_header');

This step involves adding the necessary PHP code to define and apply the CSP header, specifying which resources are allowed to be loaded.

Step 3: Save and Test the Configuration

Save the changes made to the functions.php file to ensure the CSP header configuration is applied to your site. Click the Update File button to save your changes.

Now, verify that the CSP header is correctly applied and make any necessary adjustments based on detected violations. You can do that as follows:

  • Open your website in a browser.
  • Use the browser’s developer tools to check the network headers and ensure the CSP header is present.
  • Monitor the console for any CSP violations and adjust the policy as needed.

By testing the configuration, you can be sure that the CSP header is applied correctly. If you find any security violation, make the necessary adjustments accordingly.

Method 2: Using an HTTP Security Header Plugin

This method uses the HTTP Headers WordPress plugin to simplify the process of adding headers, including the CSP header. It provides a user-friendly interface for managing security headers without the need to edit code directly.

Step 1: Install the Plugin

The first step is to install the plugin. Find, install, and activate the HTTP Headers plugin to manage security headers on your WordPress site. For that:

  • Go to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Search for “HTTP Headers” and click “Install Now” on the plugin developed by Dimitar Ivanov.
  • After installation, click “Activate”.

Here, we have installed and activated the HTTP Headers plugin, which simplifies the process of managing security headers.

Step 2: Configure CSP

Configure the CSP header within the plugin settings, specifying trusted content sources for your site.

  • Navigate to Settings > HTTP Headers.
  • Go to the “Content Security Policy” section.
  • Fill in the fields to define your CSP policy. For example:
    • default-src ‘self’
    • script-src ‘self’
    • style-src ‘self’
    • img-src ‘self’ data:
    • font-src ‘self’
    • connect-src ‘self’
    • frame-src ‘none’
  • Then, save your settings

By defining the CSP policy within your plugin, we have specified the trusted content source for your site. It helps ensure the security of your site.

Step 3: Test the Configuration

Verify the CSP header configuration and make adjustments based on any detected issues.

  • Open your website in a browser.
  • Use the browser’s developer tools to check the network headers and ensure the CSP header is present.
  • Monitor the console for any CSP violations and adjust the policy as needed.

This step involves verifying the CSP header configuration and making adjustments based on any detected issues.

By using the HTTP Headers plugin, setting up security headers becomes quite easy. But if you still need help, hire our WordPress experts to solve any issue you may face. With our expertise, you can enhance site security effectively.

Common Issues Configuring the CSP Header in WordPress and their Solutions

These are various issues that can arise when configuring the Content Security Policy (CSP) header in WordPress. Here’s a breakdown of each issue, along with solutions to address them:

Site Breaks

After enabling CSP, your website may malfunction or have certain features broken. This can happen if the CSP is too restrictive and blocks legitimate resources required by your theme or plugins.


  • Start with Report-Only Mode: Initially, use the report-only mode offered by most CSP implementations (manual or plugin-based). This allows you to identify blocked resources without impacting website functionality.
  • Review Reports: Analyze the CSP reports to see which resources are being blocked. These reports typically list the blocked resource URL and the directive it violated.
  • Refine Directives: Adjust your CSP directives to allow the necessary resources while maintaining security. You can use wildcards (*) or specific source URLs to achieve this granularity.

Be cautious when implementing CSP. Start by broadening and gradually restricting resources as you identify what your site needs to function correctly.

Incorrect Header Syntax

Incorrect syntax in the CSP header can lead to the header being ignored by the browser, rendering it ineffective.


  • Double-check Syntax: Review your CSP directives for any typos or syntax errors. Ensure proper use of quotes, semicolons, and source URLs.
  • Use Online Tools: Several online CSP validation tools can help you identify syntax errors in your directives before implementing them on your website.

Ensure proper syntax in your CSP code. Online tools can help identify and prevent errors.

Conflicts with Other Plugins or Security Settings

Some plugins or security settings might add their own headers or modify existing ones, causing conflicts. This can lead to unexpected behavior or blocking of resources.


  • Identify Conflicting Plugins: Deactivate other security-related plugins temporarily and check if the issue persists.
  • Coordinate Header Settings: If a plugin allows, configure it to align with your CSP settings or turn off its header modifications.
  • Use a Single Plugin for Headers: Use one comprehensive plugin (e.g., HTTP Headers) to manage all security headers, ensuring consistent settings.

CSP might not always play nicely with others. Identify and resolve conflicts to ensure smooth operation.

Browser Compatibility Issues

While most modern browsers support CSP, there might be compatibility issues with older browsers. This can lead to unexpected behavior for some users.


  • Check Browser Support: Refer to the documentation for your chosen CSP implementation to understand its level of browser compatibility.
  • Target Modern Browsers: If supporting older browsers is not critical for your website, you can target the modern browser’s CSP policy.
  • Provide Fallbacks (Optional): In some cases, you can implement fallback mechanisms that provide alternative content or functionality for users with unsupported browsers. However, this adds complexity and might not be practical for all situations.

Balance security with browser compatibility. You might need to make adjustments based on your target audience.

HTTPS Mixed Content Issues

If your website uses a mix of HTTP and HTTPS resources, enabling CSP can lead to mixed content warnings. It happens because CSP enforces secure connections (HTTPS) for resources.


  • Migrate to HTTPS: The ideal solution is to migrate your entire website to HTTPS. This ensures all resources load securely and prevents mixed content warnings. Many web hosting providers offer free or easy-to-install SSL certificates for this purpose.
  • Use unsafe-inline with Caution: As a temporary workaround, you can add the unsafe-inline directive to your CSP script-src directive. However, this directive bypasses some of the security benefits of CSP, so use it cautiously and only if necessary.

Mixed content warnings can arise due to HTTP resources. Migrate to HTTPS for a secure solution. If necessary, use unsafe-inline cautiously as a temporary workaround.

Configuring CSP effectively is an iterative process. Start cautiously, identify and address issues, and gradually refine your policy for optimal security. Test thoroughly after making any changes, and seek help from WordPress development experts for effective security implementation.

FAQs on Configuring the CSP Header in WordPress

What are the different directives that can be included in the Content Security Policy Header?
The CSP header allows you to specify various directives, such as default-src, script-src, style-src, and more. Using them, you can define which types of content can be loaded from different sources. You can customize these directives to fit your site's specific needs.
How can I test if the Content Security Policy Header is working on my WordPress site?
You can use online tools such as the CSP Evaluator or Security Headers to test your site's CSP header. These tools will analyze your header and provide feedback on any potential issues or vulnerabilities.
Can I customize the Content Security Policy Header for individual pages on my WordPress site?
Yes, you can use the Content Security Policy plugin or add custom code to your specific pages to override the default CSP header. This can be useful if you have different types of content on different pages.


Configuring the Content Security Policy (CSP) header in WordPress is a crucial step towards enhancing your website’s security. It defines which sources of content are trusted. So you can significantly reduce the risk of malicious attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and data injection.

Whether you choose to configure CSP headers manually or use security plugins, the key lies in the balance between security and functionality. So, iteratively refine your policy to accommodate necessary content without compromising security.

Implementing CSP headers may be complex, but the long-term benefits of safeguarding your site are worth the effort. By hiring WordPress professionals, you can ensure a robust and secure browsing experience for your users.

Need help with your WordPress website?

Mehul Patel is a seasoned IT Engineer with expertise as a WordPress Developer. With a strong background in Core PHP and WordPress, he has excelled in website development, theme customization, and plugin development.

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